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Questions Answered by Richard Sternberg
2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: My Mom had a jointly owned house when she passed away. Can anything be done to prevent the sale
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 10, 2021

You aren't providing enough information, as my learned colleague, Mr. Oakley, writes. We need to start with a title search to determine what you mean by "jointly owned."

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: How do I go about putting my wife on my deed?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 3, 2021

You record a deed, and, if you are wise, you discuss the transaction with a lawyer first.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Civil Litigation for Virginia on
Q: Would I be eligible to countersue for falsification of signatures on the purchase of a house

I bought a house with my partner (we are not married). She and I ended up separating.

I found out that she falsified signatures in the purchase of our house in 2018. Furthermore, in 2017 she left the property and did not pay any of the mortgages. Since that period I've made... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 3, 2021

You probably needed a lawyer when you made the agreement, and you certainly needed a lawyer when your partner in the house and you ended your social partnership. You also need a lawyer to interpret the agreement in light of the facts and the contributions of the parties. That consultation will be... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: Can Adverse Possession Be Granted By The Clam Of Right And And The Adverse Clam Statement.

Can Adverse Possession Be Granted By The Clam Of Right And And The Adverse Clam Statement. ( Non Non Eminent Non Non Preeminent ) ( Non Eminent Non Preeminent )

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 2, 2021

Your word salad needs a light vinaigrette, because it’s got no relationship to law. Adverse possession has five elements. You haven’t named any of them. There are no clams involved unless you are serving clam chowder or a po’ boy, and I’m guessing it’ll be the latter.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: If a tenant's lease states that it may be auto-renewed if notice isn't given 60 days prior to the end of a lease...

Can the landlord opt to not renew the lease within 30 days of the end of the term? Or change the term to a month to month lease?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 1, 2021

The answer starts with reading the actual lease rather than your recitation of what it might say. You need a consult with local counsel to review the lease.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If three people with undivided ownership in property disagree on who is allowed on the property, how is that resolved?

In the state of Virginia, three people own an undivided interest in a private road. Other members in the community have a deeded right to ingress and egress over the road. Two of the three owners want to prohibit community members from storing/parking on the road. There are community members... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 30, 2021

The answer probably depends on the deed language and possibly any other recorded agreements, and it might depend on long-term use and interpretation of that language, as well as possible claims of adverse possession. Basically, it the three owners or the owners of the rights of egress and access... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: We were under contract to buy and close on a house June 10th. The guy backed out after his appraisal. Can we do anything

We had offered $5k more then appraisal value and he had accepted our offer and we were ratified.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 26, 2021

Huh? You need a lawyer to read this contract. Generally, it is the BUYER who has the right to back out if the property doesn't appraise for the loan, because the transaction cannot be completed without the loan, so the contract includes a clause letting BUYER escape. It's got to be a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Why do people sometimes try to avoid going to court by settling? In other words, what is the fear?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 24, 2021

Losing?

Major legal expense?

Inability to collect?

Witnesses forget the facts?

Party says something stupid?

Risk... risk... risk.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: What happens to a car loan when a cosigner dies?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 24, 2021

As long as the loan continues to be paid timely, nothing happens. If it is not paid, the lender enforces against the living signer and tries to enforce against the deaf citizens-signer. Upon learning of the demise, they may proceed to file a claim in the probate estate.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I am in negotiations with my 2 sisters for purchasing my dads home. I already own 1/3rd.

Is it legal for them to put in the contract that if I sell the house before 10 years that they get part of my profit over 250,000 less the price of the home and any renovations?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 23, 2021

Why would you agree to such a term? You can settle on just about anything as long as the settlement doesn't cause you to commit a crime, but why agree? You would be paying your sisters full value as the property has now and then give them none of the loss but a portion of the gains over ten... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Criminal Law and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: What do we do about the person renting from our landlord who was subletting to us... stealing our money?

Mike is our landlord. Jeff rents the house from him and his name is on the lease. Jeff is subletting to me, and two other roommates. Jeff moved out but is still on the lease. We have been sending him rent money and utility money to pay the landlord and utilities (in his name). We found out today he... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 13, 2021

It sounds to me like you need to get out in front of this with the landlord as well as the sub landlord. It might be a good idea to review the lease between Mike and Jeff to see if he had the right to sublet. It is likely that you may be evicted, and if the PEPCO bill is in your name, you might... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Civil Litigation and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Is it unusual for a judge to do searches on the internet of the Plaintiff and defendant in cases they hear?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 10, 2021

It certainly sounds like a breach of judicial ethics. Have you discussed this with your lawyer?

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: I am concerned about a condo board and the seating of its officers. Should a unit have more than one person on the board

we are a 9 unit association. We have an equal vote among us. The officers are elected by the entire group. The officers have certain leeway on fiscal decisions. Should a single unit have more than One representative seated as an officer?

Can those officers be solely appointed by the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on May 3, 2021

I assume you have either studied the Condo bylaws and Declarations and read through all the minutes for violations, or you have at least retained counsel to do that for you. So, what are the relevant sections? What do they say? Do those sections violate Maryland Code? What procedures are required... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Our HOA board of directors is attempting to pass a code of conduct document that conflicts with bylaws.

Our bylaws expressly state that a member of the board of directors may be removed by majority vote of the association. Our board of directors is attempting to pass a code of conduct that gives themselves the ability to remove another board member at their discretion based upon a perceived violation... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 25, 2021

The trick is to read the bylaws and declarations, as well as any minutes and correspondence that might be relevant, and to create a game plan based on who the players are and what your rights are. For example, if the bylaws have rules about amending the bylaws, work towards enforcing those. Check... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My husband and I divorced in March 2019. In Sep 2019 he passed away. Prior to his death he had signed a pocket deed.

Giving the property to me. The mortgage for the property was in his name. What happens if I stop making mortgage payments. My name is not on the mortgage, but is on the deed.

Thank you,

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 16, 2021

If there is a valid mortgage lien on the property and the loan isn't paid, the lender will foreclose its equity. If you were not on title and of record before the mortgage recording, their claim would be unaffected by you. You might be entitled to the excess after foreclosure, if there is any,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: I am a beneficiary to my mother's estate. I solely took care of my mom for years in her home and oversaw her care,

otherwise there would be no house to sell. My sibling is the Executor, has hired an appraiser to sell furniture, donate and discard her belongings without including me. I've asked for a detailed list of everything sold and donated but has refused telling me to wait til all is finalized. Do I... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 16, 2021

You should probably have a consult with a lawyer to review the will, if any, and the petition for probate and inventory. Perhaps you should be a co-personal representative or insist on notices or file a claim.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: § 7-201. Duty to prepare and file inventory: Specifically, it states "The inventory shall include (#2) tangible personal

property, EXCLUDING??: Wearing apparel, other than furs and jewelry; and (ii) Provisions for consumption by the family

WHY WOULDNT THESE BE INCLUDED?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 14, 2021

A lawyer can be very helpful in sorting these things out, but, generally, the clothing of the deceased has very little economic value. It is most often donated to a homeless shelter or Salvation Army, and the proceeds are insignificant. The leftover food in the house is worth even less, and you... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I'm thinking of buying the property that I currently rent. It us a multi family unit w/ month to month lease.

I would like to remodel it into a single family home. Am I allowed to terminate the lease of the 2nd family after my loan is approved? Since it is an FHA 203k loan what are my options during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 11, 2021

The lease is a binding contract. You need to review that lease carefully for its termination provisions, and then you need to check both state and local landlord-tenant law about tenant rights. There are three specific areas to research: 1) whether the tenant has a right to holdover, which often... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: How soon can one take over a property that was willed to them?

father left me lifetime rights to a property in his will, but he was married & step mother just passed Jan 27 this year , I was not notified of her death , & have not been contacted or told anything , online property GIS says it willed , step brother was left in charge of over seeing things

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 5, 2021

It sounds like you need a lawyer to review the deed and the will. In Virginia law, title to real estate often passes immediately on death.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Jointly own land with brother he passed do I become sole owner?

Dad passed no wife my brother and I jointly inherited his 5 acres he had no will when I was 19 and he was 16. I got married at 20 he got married as well he passed in car accident do I become sole owner?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Apr 4, 2021

The answer depends on the title on the land, but I doubt that you are using the term “jointly” correctly. If you were in title as joint tenants with right of survivorship (JTWROS), often called “joint tenants,” then you came into title alone (at least in Virginia) upon his demise. But, if... Read more »

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